After more than a month since their split, Roger Federer’s racket has decided to break his silence. The scorned Wilson frame famous for its precise shot-making helped Federer win more Grand Slams than any other male player. However, a recent slump in play, including a surprising second-round exit from Wimbledon, prompted Federer to make the equipment change.
“Honestly, I thought it was going to be temporary,” says the Pro Staff. “I thought he’d test out a few younger, prettier frames with some of the enhancements men of his age seem to covet. But no matter how good they looked or felt, he’d never find the level of comfort he has with me. You can’t erase 17 majors together.”
Federer moved on, nonetheless. He tried his new frame at two consecutive clay court tournaments—Hamburg and Gstaad—and lost to much lower-ranked players at both events. What would seem to be validation of the importance of his old frame—Federer is struggling just as much without it—has only served to further its rage.
“Delbonis? Brands? I got kicked to the curb for that? I’ve been a good soldier, but I can’t bite my strings any longer. It’s not my fault he mishits so many shots; the guy can’t see two feet in front of him. When we’d go to restaurants (yes, he took me with him) Mirka or Annacone or (barf) Rossdale would have to read him the menu. I’ll never forget something Venus Williams said to me: 32 aint 22.”
The racket also claims that Federer works hard, but overstates his dedication. “If I told him to hit the gym so we could dish out more powerful shots he’d just call me a nag and skulk to the basement to watch Family Guy or House Hunters. And I was always on him about working on coming over the high backhand. ‘Don’t worry,’ he’d say, ‘I’ve got the slice. It’s more refined.’ Tell that to Rafa when he’s pummeling it.”
So now things will get a little ugly. According to divorce papers filed in Basel, the racket is seeking the house in Dubai and half of past and future proceeds from Federer’s Lindt chocolate and Gillette endorsement deals. He’s also requesting supervised visits of Federer’s trophy room. It seems like a lot, but the Pro Staff believes his reputation and potential earnings have been irreparably damaged.
“Now everybody thinks I’m too demanding. Miss my sweet spot by the width of a fingernail and you’ll catch the shanks. Sure I’ve got a bunch of Slams on the resume, but nobody wants a 90 square-inch head and 12.5 ounce body anymore. I’m destined to be hung on the walls of country clubs next to the T2000 and Prince Woodie. A temperamental relic from an earlier era. I always pitied Safin’s rackets, but at least he gave them a quick death.”
But what if Federer continues his erratic play? What if he decides the grass wasn’t greener? Would his old, trusted ally be interested in a reconciliation?
“I come from a proud tradition. Sampras, Edberg, Courier—they all played with cousins of mine. Anytime one of those guys strayed, they came back begging for forgiveness. Roger and I had some amazing times together, winning all those Wimbledons and torturing Roddick. I wish him all the success in the world, but this wound cuts too deep. I’m really going to miss those tweeners.”